The Chatter Podcast: The Moon, Mars, and National Security with Fraser Cain

By David Priess
Thursday, August 25, 2022, 9:40 AM

NASA next week plans to launch the first of several Artemis missions, which collectively aim to land astronauts on the Moon again for the first time in more than half a century, explore the lunar surface more extensively, and establish a long-term presence on the Moon. Controversy lingers over both the launch system selected for these missions and the next step of human spaceflight to Mars.

David Priess spoke with science journalist Fraser Cain, publisher of Universe Today and co-host of Astronomy Cast, about why exploring the moon matters, what to expect from the launch and voyage of Artemis-I, and the challenges of missions to Mars. They also chatted about international space competition vs. cooperation during the Cold War and now, NASA's rollout of initial images from the James Webb Space Telescope, space-based threats ranging from gamma ray bursts and rogue black holes to near-Earth objects and coronal mass ejections, Cain's evolution in communicating science both online and through podcasts, the downward spiral of engaging conspiracy theorists, frustrations with popular culture's association of unidentified aerial phenomena with "aliens," and the interaction of science fiction and real-world space exploration.

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Among the works mentioned in this episode:

The book The Martian by Andy Weir

The movie The Martian

The movie Don't Look Up

The Alien film franchise

The movie Avatar

The book Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson

The book Death from the Skies by Phil Plait

The podcast The Skeptics Guide to the Universe

The TV show For All Mankind

The Foundation book series by Issac Asimov